Funerals – Telling your Story Through Sacred Ritual
Funerals, like all significant rituals, arise out of basic human need – to take our dead to their place of final disposition. Every human society throughout the ages has performed this task with ritual and symbolic meaning in a community setting. One can think of a funeral as a sacred drama, where people of every culture act out what they believe about life and death, walking with the deceased “the last mile of the way” to take leave and commend them to whatever spiritual reality they embrace.
“When we lift the heavy weight of the coffin and carry the dead over the tile floor of the crematory or across the muddy cemetery to the open grave, we bear public witness that this was a person with a whole and embodied life, one that, even in its ambiguity and brokenness, mattered and had substance. To carry the dead all the way to the place of farewell also acknowledges the reality they are leaving us now, that they eventually will depart even from our frail communal memory as they travel on to whatever lies beyond.” - Dr. Thomas G. Long, New York Times, October 31, 2009
Because we know one another through our bodies, funerals enable us to honestly confront the reality of separation and to engage in human sharing at its deepest level. The presence of the body – whether viewed publically or not – provides a focal point for all of the changes — social, emotional, spiritual and practical — that a funeral seeks to observe. For most grieving people, going through, rather than around the difficult realities is most helpful and healing. As you participate in the planning of the service, you help create a relevant experience for everyone.
Helping You Arrange a Meaningful and Beautiful Funeral
Funeral practices encompass many variations. As such, it is difficult to define what “traditional funeral” means. Today, funerals to varying degrees, reflect the personality of the deceased and a family’s particular lifestyle. Also the change in our population means funerals reveal a wide range of customs. The Hall-Wynne staff is knowledgeable and receptive to those of all faiths, cultures and races.
We take seriously our privilege to help families create services fitting their beliefs, are consistent with their traditions and maximize emotional support. We pay close attention to the protocols of every faith tradition, recognizing our vital role of enabling worship communities to be their best around death and funerals.
Customary Funeral Followed by Burial or Cremation
A funeral can be held in one’s place of worship or our service chapel. This is followed by a procession to the graveside or to our crematory. It is Hall-Wynne’s practice to allow families to remain at the graveside as the body is lowered into the earth or witness the placement of the deceased into the cremator.
A reception or visitation is typically held at the funeral home or a place of worship the day prior or on the same day as the service. Visitation allows sharing of stories and memories as well as religious and fraternal rites, such as a Masonic rite or Christian Wake Service.
Some families prefer to have the funeral at the gravesite. We make sure there are adequate canopies for inclement weather and lap robes for the family in cold weather. Some will opt to have a graveside service prior to a memorial service held at a church or our chapel.
Years ago the family residence was the venue for life’s events – birth, death and marriage. Despite today’s norm of using a funeral home or worship space for the visitation or funeral, we are honored to accommodate anyone who finds it meaningful for their family member to be brought home one last time.
Hall-Wynne offers services limiting the environmental impact of earth burial. We can perform formaldehyde-free body preparations, to bio-degradable caskets, and referral to cemeteries with green burial sections, and we can assist families in keeping with the objectives of environmental protection and conservancy.
Catholic Funeral Rites
As the funeral service company known for serving the Catholic communities of Durham and Orange Counties, we offer the following information from the Diocese of Raleigh. The PDF article below outlines the norms for celebration of funeral rites in the Roman Catholic Church. Among many vital points, it addresses the Church’s position on cremation, the various rites from time of death to burial, eulogies and information on Catholic cemeteries in the Diocese.
The following form is available as an Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) file for you to download:
Catholic Norms of Funeral Rites